Sick Note

As if the weather back here in the UK wasn’t enough to put me off. I’ve just had my first bout of sickness in a while adding another week of little training to the tally as we close in on Ironman Lanzarote. Initial frustrations have turned into quiet optimism though.

I’m not short of potential candidates for the source of the sickness. Not long off a long haul flight and back in the UK with it’s unfamiliar set of viruses to expose myself to. Though I suspect freezing myself half to death on a photo shoot for 220 Triathlon didn’t help. After a morning posing in just my tri kit it took the rest of the day to warm back up.

Two days later I ran to the pool taking the longer route to kickstart a program of running half hour every day. Demonstrating how long it’s been since I’ve been in cold weather I headed out inadequately equipped. Gloves and a hat are in order for future reference. My legs tightened up way beyond anything I’d normally expect, especially given I’m not pushing the pace.

I ran through it till I reached the pool where I’m grateful for the break. I’d planned to do a lot of band and buoy work so no need for the legs! Cold weather isn’t the only thing I’d forgotten as it’s clear I’ve been viewing UK pools through rose-tinted glasses. I can recall claiming New Zealand swim facilities weren’t much better than home. Once I was in the murky, warm bathwater of Arthur Hill I’m longing for Freyberg!

It didn’t take much swimming before my shoulders start to cease up. Putting it down to having had a few days break I persevered through to 3.3km throwing in a test set of 110m (Arthur Hill is an odd length) to check I’m still up to speed. I’m not far off despite feeling like a brick in the water. Relatively satisfied I jogged home the short way to minimise the discomfort.

I’d expected a little soreness, but this went beyond that. Plans to get back on the bike eroded to be replaced with plans to mostly lie on the bed. Since arriving back in the UK I’ll come clean and admit my motivation has been weak. It wasn’t much of a strain to give up on the bike ride when it looked like rain at any moment. A stronger sign of problems ahead was the lack of any taste for an afternoon coffee. Weird!

I went to bed early thinking a good night’s sleep would see me refreshed and I could get up for a swim, run and gym combo. When the alarm rang at six the next morning I didn’t hesitate to shut it off. A couple of hours later and I finally woke up. I’d slept at least 9.5 hours that night which for me is an achievement. The concerning thing was I still felt terrible and worse I didn’t want coffee!

I couldn’t stomach the idea of the usual omelette or fruit and yoghurt for breakfast. Toast was all that held any appeal. Another bad sign was the struggle I had to finish two slices. No coffee, no apetite, things were wrong. I spent most of the rest of the day back in bed followed by another early night.

Eight and a half hours later and things take a turn for the better. I still don’t have much apetite nor desire for coffee, but I don’t feel too bad. Normally I’d rush back into training, but remember that lack of motivation? I pop over to the Tri20 Swim Centre to see the grand opening of the new shop facilities and if anyone is mad enough to swim in the lake. They are. It’s about 9 centigrade in there. The rest of the day was spent with family, potentially spreading the disease further.

Easter Sunday saw the return of both apetite and taste for coffee. I could have returned to training, but instead I indulged in the Easter tradition of over-eating. Dinner with the family, more of a Christmas dinner than an Easter one, but then I’ve missed the last two. I also made a second attempt at baking date scones. I’m very close to getting it right now, attempt three should see them perfected. No, not great for an athlete trying to be Paleo!

I’m back to normal now in fact I’m feeling better than normal. A long weekend spent mostly in bed with little to no activity has left me feeling really refreshed. I’ve not felt like this in a while certainly not this year. Most of my time in New Zealand was spent fatigued either from my current training or previous weeks work. To actually feel fresh is a novelty!

Actually it’s amazing the difference being completely rested makes. I’ve heard it said how easily endurance athletes can come to view a constant state of fatigue as normal. It’s all true. In the past two years two weeks is the longest break I’ve taken after an Ironman and by break I mean no structured training. A little fun training always sneaks in at some point along the line. I’ve generally returned to full training with recovery still to go.

What was going to be a frustrated rant about my own laziness had I blogged last week is now something more positive. I can see the value in the break I’ve unintentionally had. I feel pretty good and I’ve six weeks to get myself back into top form for the next race. Been there before. There’s still time!